It was May of 2014, a Tuesday to be precise. It was 9 p.m. in Guiones Beach. I had been living in Guanacaste for less than 12 hours and, as usual with heat, the craving for a beer overwhelmed me. The complications started when what would quench my thirst was far from my hotel, I had no car, the buses in Nosara only work for long distances and the concept of a taxi is not on the map.
Right at that moment when I gave everything up as lost, a message showed up on my cell phone with the number of a small Tuk Tuk business in Nosara that does just that: save the day and show up where no other transportation service goes.
Since then I have continued to use this small vehicle that is not afraid of any pothole or dust storm. Once inside it, nothing matters and everything is fun.
Its seat is usually cushioned, covered with vinyl. Its maximum capacity is four people, including the driver. The picturesque moment is when the driver starts the engine and the small vehicle turns into a moving tagada amusement park ride, but ingeniously, there are handles on the sides to grab hold of and absorb the shock of the bumpiness produced by the lovely streets of Nosara.
Nosara currently has about five young entrepreneurs who are engaged in the business of tuk tuk transportation services, which are also called “toritos” (little bulls) or motorcycle taxis, although their original name is autorickshaws and they come from India.
A total of 15 “toritos” run up and down the streets of Nosara, but in countries like India, there are more than 5 million people who drive this type of vehicle.
Ronald Mora, better known as Mosca, is one of the owners of five tuk tuks in Nosara and he affirms that the big advantage of this little car is how economical and courageous they are, since the tank is filled with gasoline for ¢4500 ($8.50) and it does not stall on any of Nosara’s hills.
“A little while ago, I went from Nosara to Nicaragua and going, I only filled the tank once. They are very economical, so this is a good business,” said the driver.
According to Mora, the minimum rate in Nosara for any trip for foreigners is ¢4,000 ($7.60) and for locals ¢3,000 ($5.70). Most tourists use them to go from a hotel to a restaurant, while Nosara residents use them a lot on Sundays to go to church.
For many drivers, the rickshaw is their main source of income. Such is the case for Freddy Arrieta, who owns one tuk tuk and supports himself and his wife with the income from the trips.
Like any vehicle, the tuk tuks have to pass the Vehicle Technical Inspection (Riteve) and also pay the vehicle registration (marchamo), which can be up to ¢70,000 ($135). What is tiresome for owners is that it is hard to get replacement parts in Costa Rica. Most of them have to be brought from Nicaragua, and for major repairs, they have to look for mechanics from San Jose.
Nosara visitors shouldn’t just see a sunset in Guiones, eat ceviche in Garza or take a yoga and surfing class. To this list, you have to add a little tour in a tuk tuk that is now part of what is customary in the area.
Tuk Tuk Options:
Ronald Mora (Mosca): 8902-6886
Freddy Arrieta: 8662-6080
Luis Angel Rodríguez: 8672-8015
Alexis Cabalceta (Chapín): 8853-2519